The View From Mrs. Sundberg's Window

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A Trip All Its Own

April 18, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I spent the afternoon mixing up some homemade eggrolls and teriyaki noodles and we sat down as "Tishomingo Blues" played. Everyone was talking as we ate and the food was good but the show was great. The kids picked the onions out of their eggrolls as they talked about summertime coming and what things they want to do. The list is long: vacation Bible school, canoeing, building campfires, fishing, staying up late, birthday parties, grilling out, swimming lessons, visiting their grandparents, and on and on. Turns out they'll be away nearly a month when you combine camp and grandparents and that's not a bad thing. Nice to have some quiet time.

I took my time washing dishes after dinner. There's something therapeutic about a sink full of warm water and bubbles and how the water drips off the plates in the rack and the windows steam up. I listened to Odetta thank Mr. Keillor for bringing music to the entire country. I sure like her. There's something rich about her. Not rich like money rich, but rich like real and pure and bold. I'll bet she has stories. I'll be she likes silence, too, and rocking in a wooden chair.

The sun sets a bit later now and it was still light out as I finished drying the dishes and sliding them into the cupboards which I happened to wash out last week so they smell like a sack of lemons and there's no dust. The show was nearly half over and Andre Watts was playing a Liszt piano piece about not being able to sleep because of all the questions that keep us awake. I've been that way lately. Mr. Sundberg jokes about me having a midlife crisis, with the whole jail ordeal and wanting to find my other son and test driving a Hummer and looking at Henna tattoos on the Internet and not being able to sleep much. I'm just engaged in the world, I tell him. Besides, I'm too young for a midlife crisis. And if that's what this IS, it's not a crisis. It's a midlife glitch. A midlife issue. A pause. Yes. I'm pausing. I'm taking a time out from the big trip, stopping by the scenic overlook and snapping a few photos and getting a few brochures and asking a few questions at the Visitors' Information Booth. Because I want to know about my travel options and there's no book of maps for living a life. A ten-minute test-drive in a big yellow Hummer does wonder's for one's perspective.

Anyway. I registered for a class this week. At the community college nearby. It's a writing class. Mr. Sundberg is in full support. "Now you can write that cookbook you've been talking about all these years." Well, yes, I tell him. That, too. But I've got something else in mind. The kind of story where you have to say early on, "Any resemblance of these characters to real people is pure coincidence." Even though it's not really true. I mean, really. Won't that be a trip all its own. Mr. Sundberg has been suggesting pen names, but I don't know. So many of the good ones have been taken. He says I could go with initials like H. D., or one word like Sappho and get a business card and some letterhead. Well, I tell him, I like my name just fine.

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